Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Descendants

The Flick: The Descendants

The Peeps: George Clooney, Shailene Woodley, Amara Miller, Nick Kraus, Beau Bridges, Michael Ontkean, Matthew Lillard, etc.

The Dealio: Clooney's Matt King, reeling from the jet-ski accident that rendered his wife comatose and likely to never recover, discovers that she was having an affair. In turns hurt, stunned, and angry, at heart, he is simply scrambling to hold his family together, minimise the damage and help his daughters heal. But fate is not done with Matt King. Another one-two punch connects when land his family has owned for over a century becomes a bone of contention in his expansive and acquisitive family. Here's the dealio: he - as executor of the estate- must either give into the pleas of most of his family and sell the land to developers, or let it revert back to the Hawaiian people in seven years. Most of the family is pulling for the sale because, well, they are almost out of money. Matt doesn't really need the money and a minority of his family wants the land to be returned to Hawaii. Alternately flummoxed and desperate, King struggles to be the rock- the optimistic rock- to his youngest daughter (Amara's passive Scotty) and encouraging, bracing and disciplining to his rebellious older daughter- the subtly evocative Woodley's Alex- who is , at 16, already in a 'school' for teens with substance abuse problems. Into this mix comes the obliviously upbeat Sid (a fresh-faced, don't-quite-get-it-but-OK Kraus), Alex's side-kick. No filter here, folks. He is of the gumball-machine theory of thought: it's in his mind, then rolls down to his lips, and out shoots the thought. Everyone quick! and cover.

The Grading Session: 4.83 pengies out of 5. Clooney is comedic, touchingly gruff, bewildered, then as ferocious and territorial as a griz. He is able, in other words, to play a fully fleshed out and realised character. Never better. But the real revelations are the three young actors who play his daughters and the goofball with a heart of gold, Sid. They are either naturals or really quick studies. Maybe both. And, Clooney has a natural easiness with them that is generous- letting them shine when they take the foreground, and supporting them when he shares the screen with them.

Lessons Learned: Hawaii is beautiful. But it is not Paradise. Also this: never judge a book by its cover (or a seemingly clueless teen by his chirpy, dramatically not-with-it affect). There can be unplumbed depths to such. Or not. Lastly: who says blood is thicker than water? Certainly not the King family when gazillions of bux lie in the balance.

Notable Quotable: "Paradise? Paradise can go eff itself. "

No comments:

Post a Comment